IMG_3419One of my daughters adopted a guinea pig a few years ago.  My girl was in her own apartment, going to school and noticed two guinea pigs, each in their own cages, on the floor in the shared hallway.

She called and asked if she should adopt them, as he already had one guinea pig.  I suggested she try the females together, as adopting the little boar would mean more and more and more pigs.

She took her home.  After a time, my girl came home with Munchkin.  Munchkin was the name she was given by her former family who left her in the hallway after the novelty wore off.

Munchkin became #15 in the strange collection of animals I cared for daily.

Some time later, my daughter left, with Munchkin.  Seems Munchkin liked my care, liked the goings on and became depressed.  She hid in the corner of her roomy cage, didn’t say or do anything for a few weeks.  I said, “Bring her back.”

Once home with me, it was business as usual.  Back to the routine, the treats and the level of nutrition and care that I’m famous for around here.  I started calling her QueeQuee, for the cute sound that she makes.

We moved north, and QueeQuee was in a tiny pet carrier, and took the 19 hours in the truck very well, better than the ten other pets I carried in the truck.  In fact, she held up better than the humans, it seemed.

Now, living in a tiny house, we’re well packed in.  Mark, being a tall man with broad shoulders, feels like a sardine in a can.  Each pair of rabbits has 16 square feet of living space and QueeQuee had a cage thought to be good for rabbits.  As you can probably guess, I take space and comfort seriously.

I didn’t handle QueeQuee much, though she did get pets and lots of attention, I knew she would appreciate burrowing in someones sleeve or coat, or just being stroked and held more often.  If the right family came along, I would give her up, but not for any reason other than she was wanted.

We joked about QueeQuee never being able to die, because of the level of care she received.  If I sat in my chair, she was about 3 feet from me, and usually came out from her hiding spot to sleep near me.  She’s a very sweet little animal, gentle, too.

In passing, a coworker of my daughter’s, (Home Depot) mentioned that the third or fourth hamster had died and the child wanted another.  My daughter mentioned QueeQuee ‘taking up space.’

Sure, she was taking up space, aren’t we all?

I invited the family over to meet us and QueeQuee.  I wanted to find out if the potential adopters would continue giving her the level of care I insisted on.  I needed to see how the nearly 5-year-old little girl behaved with QueeQuee.

The visit was wonderful.  The child, quite bright and personable, inquisitive and sensitive, seemed an ideal fit.  QueeQuee would be in the living room with the family, not put in a bedroom or hallway. The bonus for QueeQuee is that she would be handled.  She always purred when I stroked her and I know she will love being adored.

The parents, loving and responsible, called later to say that QueeQuee had peed on Dad.

I made sure that the family knew that there was no shame in bringing her back to me, if “Squeaker” didn’t work out for them.  I had every intention of caring for QueeQuee until she died.  IMG_3421

This is how it should always be.  One family entering the home of another, making the adoption of a precious life much more personal.  We look into the eyes of one another.  We ask questions, we get answers.  I feel confident that “Squeaker” is going to get a lot more attention than she did with me.  And Mom assured me that she would continue the level of care I had been so dedicated to providing.

I told the Aubrey (the little girl) about how some cultures dress the guinea pigs in costumes to match their own, in high Princess fashion, and the winner’s life, spared for another year.  Sounds a bit like the presidential pardon for turkeys, on Thanksgiving.

Everyone should have a second chance, or third.  QueeQuee’s in her fourth home and perfect of all.

The space where she lived is empty now.  When I make my rounds in the morning and evening, I say “Hi, QueeQuee,” or “Goodnight, QueeQuee.”  It’s odd not having her here.  However, I’m extremely happy for her new and better life.